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Penguins over/under: How many goals for Bryan Rust, Rickard Rakell, and Jeff Carter?

Looking at some potential goal totals for the Pittsburgh Penguins secondary forwards.

NHL: Stanley Cup Playoffs-New York Rangers at Pittsburgh Penguins Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the start of the NHL regular season just a couple of weeks away let us continue our look at some over/under numbers for the 2022-23 Pittsburgh Penguins.

We already look at Jake Guentzel goal totals and Evgeni Malkin point totals, and today we look at some potential goal totals for some of the Penguins secondary players including Bryan Rust, Rickard Rakell, and Jeff Carter.

Here we go....

Rickard Rakell: 25.5 goals

Rakell is one of the most fascinating members of this year’s team for me.

His career badly regressed in Anaheim after a couple of years where he was one of the best young goal-scorers in the league, and then he started to have a bit of a rebound this past season. He seemed to really click alongside Sidney Crosby, and he has spent time in training camp and the preseason so far playing alongside Crosby and Jake Guentzel. That has the potential to be a pretty dynamic line.

I love his talent level and playmaking ability, but I am a little skeptical of the contract the Penguins signed him to this offseason. It is a significant investment for a player that is still a bit of an unknown.

Since the start of the 2018-19 season he has scored at a 20-goal pace per 82 games, and his bounce back a year ago was not really shooting percentage driven, either. Can a year next to Crosby and Guentzel boost him back up a little more?

Given the investment the Penguins made in they really need him to be that play.

So with that said, does Rakell top the 25-goal mark?


Over/Under Rickard Rakell Goals: 25.5 goals

This poll is closed

  • 58%
    (352 votes)
  • 41%
    (250 votes)
602 votes total Vote Now

Bryan Rust: 30.5 goals

Of all the Penguins free agents this past offseason I figured Rust was the one they had the least chance of re-signing. He has developed into a legitimate top-line producer, he can play in every situation and in any role, and this was going to be his one chance to really cash in big on the open market. He seemed as good as gone to the highest bidder.

Instead, he turned down all of that and signed what was probably a below market deal with the Penguins. Not at all what I expected.

I do have some questions as to what the back half of that contract is going to look like, but at this point it probably does not matter as the only thing the Penguins care about is the next three or four years for the remainder of Sidney Crosby’s career.

So now that he is back, is this going to be the year he tops the 30-goal mark?

The biggest thing that has prevented him from reaching that by now is shortened seasons and injuries. Over the past three seasons he has scored 73 goals in 171 regular season games. That averages out to a 35-goal pace over 82 games. What is even more remarkable is that his goal-scoring pace and rate has remained steady (and even increased slightly this past season) during that time even as his shooting percentage has dropped. The shot volume, playing time, and linemates have been the key.

So does Rust reach the 30-goal mark?


Over/Under Bryan Rust goals: 30.5 goals

This poll is closed

  • 38%
    (230 votes)
  • 61%
    (365 votes)
595 votes total Vote Now

Jeff Carter: 20.5 goals

Jeff Carter is going to be an X-factor for this team this season. The Penguins made a pretty significant investment in him given his age and role, and he HAS produced since joining the Penguins.

But there are some concerns.

His underlying numbers have not been great, and he really faded a year ago, probably due to the increased role and minutes he had to take on due to injuries.

He does do one thing really well though: He scores goals.

Since joining the Penguins he has scored 36 goals in 103 games (regular season and playoffs) which averages out to a 28-goal pace per 82 games.

That is actually really impressive, and would be well worth the contract the Penguins are paying him.

But is he capable of scoring at that level over a full season? Probably not, but he also does not need to do that to be useful. He just needs to be a solid third-line center. Is 20 goals setting too high of a bar?


Over/under Jeff Carter goals: 20.5 goals

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    (100 votes)
  • 82%
    (473 votes)
573 votes total Vote Now

Kasperi Kapanen: 15.5 goals

The most baffling move of the Penguins’ offseason was almost certainly the investment they made in Kasperi Kapanen. He has all of the individual tools to be a good player, but it has not always worked out. I thought he finished the season on a high note, and even had his moments in the playoffs, but he is still a total wild card.

He has only topped the 15-goal mark one time in his career, and that was four years ago. In two years with the Penguins he has averaged exactly a 15-goal pace per 82 games, despite scoring just 11 goals in 79 games this past season with a career-low shooting percentage of only 8.5 percent.

Is there a positive regression to the mean to be had there?


Over/Under Kasperi Kapanen goals: 15.5 goals

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    (385 votes)
  • 32%
    (184 votes)
569 votes total Vote Now